High ticket Bordeaux is to McMansions as Chinon is to Craftsman Bungalows. You can have your slutty Cheval Blanc in a styrofoam cup by yourself in a greasy spoon, Miles, you sad sack. Me? Just give a steady supply of Olga Raffault Chinon. Well, I’ll take your Cheval Blanc if you’re picking up the tab.
No trade secrets here: 100% old-vine Cab Franc on a slope above the Vienne river. Alluvial clay over limestone. Hand-picked, fermented in steel, and aged for 2-3 years in neutral oak or chesnut. Slow wine. Some patience and/or vigorous decanting takes me to that happy place — a Cabernet Franc trance state — that is so much greater than the sum of its parts, as good as they are: a preternatural blast of unsweetened, pungent cassis, orange peel and sea salt. This is a baby even after double-decanting and sloshing the bottle around for the better part of 24 hours.